person using typewriter
Photo by Min An on

Freeman's Front Porch Musings

My website to showcase my creative writings-such as they are.

A Walk in Darkness…the rewrite continues…unedited…

In the beginning…

What a way to start any story. You can feel the goosebumps, right? Something’s going to happen, a change or choice will be made, and you caught it at the very start. Every time I’ve ever cracked open my Bible, those words soaked in. There was nothing, but then…bam…there was light. 

In the pitch black of nothing, the Spirit of God spoke and said, “Let there be…”

My life seemed vacuous when I returned home from Iraq in 2005. That’s not to say that I hated my family, or my time with them. I enjoyed it, but it seemed hollow. 

Life in a combat zone has always been and will always be hectic. Operational tempo skyrockets from Day One and continues to climb in intensity until your last day in theater. My body returned from Iraq, but my mind failed to catch up with my physical form. Everywhere I looked I saw threats, seen and unseen, my mind still clouded with the dangers of living abroad. Vehicles broken down on the side of the road were probable car bombs, crowds of people in my mind were potential cover for attackers or suicide bombers. I couldn’t distinguish between where I’d been, and where I was. 

I can’t imagine how hard it must’ve been trying to communicate with me back then. I had no focus, and worst, I didn’t care. The war was all I cared about. How soon can I get back to it? We’ve got a war to win.  My next rotation to the war would carry me away from home for a whopping fifteen months. I had issues after a year in the thick of some of the worst fighting in the entire campaign, but it was nothing in comparison to what I faced after fifteen months. 

Things didn’t start out bad. After 9 months of intense train up, we deployed to an airbase and began refueling operations. The first month or two were okay, but then I began to have serious migraine headaches. It’s just stress,” I told myself, as I placed tinfoil in my windows to block the sunlight. “Everything is okay.” It wasn’t. Month after month, the pain became worse. 

“Go to sick call Freeman. Get checked out,” my supervisor told me one afternoon. I scoffed. “When? We have no downtime; things are a mess at the refueling point. When am I supposed to go get checked out?” 

“You’re off this evening. Take a battle buddy, get on the bus, and take your butt over to the clinic.”

I shook my head and said, “Roger, sergeant.”

The clinic sat on the far side of the base, not far from a movie theater, an Olympic-sized pool, a Cinnabon, and the markets. The burn pits were not far from the clinic either. I got off the bus at about 1830 and sat in a tiny trailer. It was packed with soldiers. 

After several minutes, and what felt like hours, a bedraggled looking nurse stood in a doorframe and snapped, “Freeman?”

“Here,” I snapped back. The nurse looked at me, frowned, and motioned for me to follow them back. 

“What seems to be the problem?” The nurse asked, looking at the monitor. 

“I’m having severe headaches.”

“Is that it?”

Is that not enough, I thought to myself. I composed myself and refrained from swearing. “Yep, that’s it.” The nurse scribbled down my vitals and told me to wait for the doctor. A few more moments dragged by when the doctor came in.  He gave me a half-hearted grin as he sat down on a stool.

“So, your vitals are good. On a scale of ten, how bad is your headache?”

“A 9.”

“Hmmm. I’ll get you some Ibuprofen. Are you under stress? The heat might also cause headaches. Are you staying cool and hydrated?” 

“Thanks, doc. I have no more than the usual amount of stress. I’m drinking water, eating, and doing my best to stay in the shade.”

“Well, keep doing what you’re doing. The Ibuprofen should take care of the rest.”

For a while it did help, but soon I took five 800 mg Ibuprofen just to ease the pain. Worse things were on the way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Me

I’m a retired soldier. Writer and full – time coffee addict. I was born and raised in Mississippi, and I joined the Army at 28 for a life of adventure and travel. Interests include: Reading, walking my two pups, Casanova and Chunk, spending time with my wife Chassidy, and trying to pen the next great American novel. I am on Instagram under Freeman’s Front Porch Musings. I sometimes do Twitter under LarryF7371.


%d bloggers like this: